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  • Posted on Apr 4, 2017

Teenagers are using less drugs and alcohol. And we have no idea why. Maybe the anti-drug campaigns are working? Or maybe it’s something else…

Smartphone use has grown exponentially over the last decade, the same period of time that the drug and alcohol use has declined. Scientists have various theories on how the two could be intertwined. Possibly the devices take up a lot of time…or possibly the teens are getting addicted to this technology. We do know that internet addiction has become a rising concern so could it be that teens are replacing one addiction for another?

In a survey, “Monitoring the Future”, a report that measures drug use by teenagers, the illicit drug use (other than marijuana) was a the lowest level in 40 years for 8, 10 and 12th graders. Wow. Teenagers that were interviewed said they used the phone to occupy themselves (surfing the web) while others did drugs.

While smartphones are everywhere, we still don’t understand what these devices do to the brain. Maybe along with connecting us to others, the devices are changing the dopamine levels in the kids, literally giving them a positive rewarding feeling. In a survey in 2015, the average teenager was using media for 6.5 hours per day, while some reported being on ‘constantly’. After all, a lot of teenagers even sleep with their cell phones!

Dr.Badaracco

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